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Information Technology in the Learning Economy: Challenges for Developing Countries

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  • Dieter Ernst

    ()
    (Economics Study Area, East-West Center)

  • Bengt-Ake Lundvall

    (Economics, University of Aalborg, Denmark)

Abstract

This paper inquires how the concept of the "learning economy" can be applied to the requirements of developing countries. The main purpose is to develop an analytical framework to better understand how learning and capability formation can foster industrial upgrading. Special emphasis is given to te spread of information technology (IT). We inquire under what conditions developing countries can use this set of generic technologies to improve their learning capabilities. We argue that information technology should not be regarded as a potential substitute for human skills and tacit knowledge. Instead, its main role should be to support the formation and use of tacit knowledge. In the paper we compare two stylised models of the learning economy, the Japanese versus the American model. The Japanese model is explicit in its promotion and exploitation of tacit knowledge, while the American model is driven by a permanent urge to reduce the importance of tacit knowledge and to transform it into information - that is into explicit, 4 well structured and codified knowledge. We show that each of these models has peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Developing countries need to develop their own hybrid forms of institutions that combine the advantages of both models in a way that is appropriate to their idiosyncratic needs and capabilities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by East-West Center, Economics Study Area in its series Economics Study Area Working Papers with number 08.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ewc:wpaper:wp08

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References

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  1. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
  2. Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 1996. "The Social Dimension of the Learning Economy," DRUID Working Papers 96-1, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Bengt-Åke Lundvall & Frank Skov Kristensen, 1997. "Organisational Change, Innovation and Human Resource Development as a Response to Increased Competition," DRUID Working Papers 97-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  2. K.J Joseph & Vinoj Abraham, 2007. "Information technology and productivity: Evidence from India's manufacturing sector," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 389, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
  3. Alexandros Flamos & Katherine Begg, 2010. "Technology transfer insights for new climate regime," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 19-33, February.
  4. Lundvall, Bengt-Ake & Johnson, Bjorn & Andersen, Esben Sloth & Dalum, Bent, 2002. "National systems of production, innovation and competence building," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 213-231, February.
  5. Jukka Kaisla, 1998. "The Market Process and the Emergence of the Firm Some Indications of Entrepreneurship Under Genuine uncertainty," DRUID Working Papers 98-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  6. Dieter Ernst, 1999. "Responses to the Crisis Constraints to a Rapid Trade Adjustment in East Asia�s Electronics Industry," DRUID Working Papers 99-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  7. Saccone Donatella, 2008. "Economic openness, skill demand and skill supply in three archetypes of developing countries: a theoretical and empirical investigation," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200813, University of Turin.
  8. Vanessa Casadella & Mohamed Benlahcen-Tlemcani, 2006. "De l'applicabilité du Système National d'Innovation dans les Pays Moins Avancés," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 24(2), pages 59-90.

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